Category: politics

FACELESS short documentary was produced on request of Jos de Putter for De Correspondent.

As follow up of the exhibition that Bogmor Doringer curated in collaboration with Brigitte Felderer and staged on the topic of hidden faces in contemporary society after 9-11.

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 6: Faceless

“Why Should We Hide Our Faces?” Hong Kong’s Voices on the Ground|Across the Strait|2019-09-02|web only:

Q: How often do you join the protests?

A: As a working professional, I try to go on weekends when I have time. At most legal protests, I try not to wear masks. It’s about exercising our legal right of assembly and showing our support for this movement. Why should we hide our faces?

You don’t really know if a demonstration will ultimately be legal or illegal. It might start out as a legal assembly in a designated area, but then it spills onto the street because so many people are joining. If that crowd walks down the street and deviates in any way from the original route, it can technically be interpreted as an “unlawful assembly.”

The police are supposed to inform protesters when an assembly has been declared “unlawful.” However, protesters may hardly be aware when this happens—officers may put up a sign, in a place not within our eyesight.

If the police start shooting tear gas, you will know the demonstration is now considered illegal. This is when I put on a mask. The surgical mask I carry is not a chemical mask, so it’s not effective protection against the tear gas; but when police deem things an “unlawful assembly” and charge in, it’s better not to have your photo taken.

Many protesters are concerned about photos being taken, no matter if the assembly is legal or not, since China is renowned for using face recognition technology to monitor its people. A sense of “White Terror” is increasingly felt in Hong Kong, and we are quite worried that such images could be used against you later. Look at what is happening at Cathay Pacific and TVB—staff were laid off because they posted pro-protest messages on Facebook.

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 6: Faceless

Faceless. Re-inventing Privacy Through Subversive Media Strategies:

The contributions to this book explore a phenomenon that appears to be a contradiction in itself – we, the users of computers, can be tracked in digital space for all eternity. Although, on the one hand, one wants to be noticed and noticeable, on the other hand one does not necessarily want to be recognized at the first instance, being prey to an unfathomable public, or – even less so – to lose face.

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 6: Faceless

Hong Kong’s Face Mask Ban Is Just Pissing People Off

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 6: Faceless

 A stolen life – A new perspective and everything in between | Neda Soltani | TEDxRWTHAachen

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 6: Faceless

Microaggressions and the Rise of Victimhood Culture:

Last fall at Oberlin College, a talk held as part of Latino Heritage Month was scheduled on the same evening that intramural soccer games were held. As a result, soccer players communicated by email about their respective plans. “Hey, that talk looks pretty great,” a white student wrote to a Hispanic student, “but on the off chance you aren’t going or would rather play futbol instead the club team wants to go!!”

Unbeknownst to the white student, the Hispanic student was offended by the email. And her response signals the rise of a new moral culture America.

When conflicts occur, sociologists Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning observe in an insightful new scholarly paper, aggrieved parties can respond in any number of ways. In honor cultures like the Old West or the street gangs of West Side Story, they might engage in a duel or physical fight. In dignity cultures, like the ones that prevailed in Western countries during the 19th and 20th Centuries, “insults might provoke offense, but they no longer have the same importance as a way of establishing or destroying a reputation for bravery,” they write. “When intolerable conflicts do arise, dignity cultures prescribe direct but non-violent actions.”

We’ve all engaged in these actions.

The aggrieved might “exercise covert avoidance, quietly cutting off relations with the offender without any confrontation” or  “conceptualize the problem as a disruption to their relationship and seek only to restore harmony without passing judgment.” In the most serious cases, they might call police rather than initiating violence themselves. “For offenses like theft, assault, or breach of contract, people in a dignity culture will use law without shame,” the authors observe. “But in keeping with their ethic of restraint and toleration, it is not necessarily their first resort, and they might condemn many uses of the authorities as frivolous. People might even be expected to tolerate serious but accidental personal injuries.”

Digital Human, Series 18, Episode 2: Uncomfortable

Think Facebook has an anti-vaxxer problem? You should see Amazon:

In November 2012, the Welsh city of Swansea was hit by a unusually destructive measles outbreak. Sparked off by a handful of children who picked up the virus after returning from a holiday camp, over six months the epidemic would would infect at least 1,202 people and lead to the death of one 25-year-old man.

But the seeds of the Swansea measles epidemic were sown 16 years earlier.

Would Twitter Ruin Bee Democracy? – Issue 55: Trust – Nautilus:

Apparently, the lofty principles of our democracy may have a straightforward biological origin, and can emerge without any elaborate design. Simple-majority democracy can safeguard the will of the majority, and, at least judging by the frequency with which its found in nature, seems to be one of the best ways of resolving conflicting interests among individuals who have to stick together—whether it’s a swarm of bees or a band of monkeys. It’s no wonder a motley crew of gregarious species, including humans, have evolved to use this same wisdom in making collective decisions.

This remarkable fact is more than a curiosity—it can also be a useful model. It offers the opportunity to evaluate how robust democracy is against deviations from simple-majority rules.

Not all voters are well-informed. Some may be ignorant, incompetent, or uninterested in the common good. How can a simple majority work in this case? It’s an issue that has concerned thinkers ancient and modern, including Plato, Thomas Hobbes, and John Stuart Mill. Plato was almost paranoid about the prospect of electing fools who are narrowly self-interested and have no philosophical vision. (Today we have plenty of examples.) He decried democracy as nothing more than mob rule, and preferred instead an aristocracy led by a wise “philosopher king.” Concerns like this led to the practice of voter literacy tests, which were only ditched in the United States in 1975.

But will ignorant voters really jeopardize simple-majority democracy? By looking at animals, we get the hint of an answer. Iain Couzin and colleagues at Princeton University used food to train two groups of golden shiners (a small fish) to swim from one end of a tank to either a yellow or a blue target located on the other end.3 They then released the two groups of trained fish into a group of naïve fish. The naïve fish tended to follow whichever informed group had more members—the majority. If there were more informed fish pursuing the yellow (or blue) target, the naïve fish also pursued it. What’s more, the more naïve fish there were, the stronger the trend became. So the presence of the ignorant not only failed to undermine the voting of the informed majority, it actually fortified it.

Digital Human, Series 13. Episode 1 – Resist.

Fleeing Rohingya carry one key asset: solar panels:

UKHIYA, Bangladesh (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – When Rohingya refugees began arriving in Bangladesh, after violence erupted in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State in August, local residents were puzzled to see some toting small solar panels on their shoulders.

“When we saw they were carrying a solar panel with them, I was surprised. I would never do this in such a situation,” Jashim Uddin, a tea stall owner in Ukhiya, in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Main Uddin, a government official in charge of Ukhiya sub-district during the Rohingya exodus, said the panels were being carried in despite the sound of gunfire on the border and reports of landmines.

More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State since August, when the Myanmar army launched a crackdown following attacks on police posts and an army base by Muslim militants.

Many reported making an arduous trek lasting between 5 and 15 days along hilly and waterlogged roads – but the hazardous journey did not prevent many of them from carrying a solar panel with them.

“This solar panel saved my life,” said Ayatullah, 18, once a shopkeeper in Myanmar’s Mongdu township and now a resident of the Thaingkhali refugee camp in Bangladesh.

He said he had to take care to avoid Myanmar’s army when he fled the country.

“They were killing everyone they came across. We had to depend on information from our people about the safe route, and a mobile phone was needed for that. This solar panel helped us to charge the mobile phone,” he said.

Digital Human, Series 13. Episode 1 – Resist.

Why Iranian women are wearing white on Wednesdays:

A new social media campaign against a law which forces women to wear a headscarf is gaining momentum in Iran.

Using the hashtag #whitewednesdays, citizens have been posting pictures and videos of themselves wearing white headscarves or pieces of white clothing as symbols of protest.

The idea is the brainchild of Masih Alinejad, founder of My Stealthy Freedom, an online movement opposed to the mandatory dress code.

Before the 1979 Islamic revolution many Iranian women wore Western-style outfits, including miniskirts and short-sleeved tops, but this all changed when the late Ayatollah Khomeini came to power.

Women were not only forced to cover their hair in line with a strict interpretation of Islamic law on modesty, but also to stop using make-up and to start wearing knee-length manteaus. More than 100,000 women and men took to the streets to protest against the law in 1979, and opposition to it has never gone away.

Digital Human, Series 13. Episode 1 – Resist.